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Seeking billions in aid, Karzai off to Tokyo

7 Jul 2012 - 11:23
7 Jul 2012 - 11:23

KABUL): Seeking billions of dollars in civilian aid, President Hamid Karzai on Saturday left for Japan at the head of a high-level delegation to attend the International Tokyo Conference scheduled for July 8.

Representatives from nearly 70 countries and international organisations will participate in the day-long conference to be held in Tokyo, Japan’s capital.

Karzai, his Cabinet ministers, journalists and civil society would seek political and financial support from the international community during the transition period (2015-2025) to help it become a self-sufficient nation, he said.

Organisers say the Afghan government would reaffirm its commitment to the international community to accountability, efforts at eradicating corruption and good governance.

Earlier, the finance minister had said they would seek more than $5 billion annually at the Tokyo conference, but Da Afghanistan Bank Governor Noohullah Dilawari put the figure at $6 billion a year.

Meanwhile, Japanese media reported participants would pledge $15 billion in development aid through 2015. Karzai is scheduled to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

A statement from the Presidential Palace said Karzai would touch on various regional topics. During the trip, Japan’s Nippon Sport Science University would award a doctorate to the president.

The delegation includes Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmay Rassul, president’s national security affairs advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal, High Peace Council chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, deputy director of president’s office, Humaira Ludin and Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi.

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